Israel’s housing and construction ministry announced plans for up to 851 new housing units for Judea and Samaria settlements.
Wednesday’s announcement came in the wake of the defeat of a bill in Knesset that would have retroactively legalized the Ulpana Hill neighborhood of Beit El.
Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias said Wednesday evening that in addition to the 300 housing units promised to Beit El in exchange for relocating five apartment buildings housing 30 families, he would approve 551 more in Ariel, Maale Adumim, Adam, Efrat and Kiryat Arba.
The announcement is expected to bring international condemnation, as similar ones have done in the past.
During a news conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “There is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government. I also say that there is no government that has withstood such heavy pressures, which could have hurt settlement, and it must be understood that ours is a very complex diplomatic, national and legal environment. And in this complex reality, one must navigate wisely, sagaciously and responsibly. Thus the members of the Government and myself have acted, up until now, and thus we will continue to act. We will continue to strengthen settlement and we will continue to strengthen democracy in the State of Israel.”